Psssst….Are You a Telecommuting Time Waster?
3 Ways to Approach Procrastination and Get Writing Done
The television remote is always tempting.
The video games are just in the other room.
The house or apartment always needs cleaning.
Groceries need to be bought.
You need to get a workout and take the dog for a walk.
And of course any of these things need to happen before you sit down and get serious about your day’s writing schedule.
Aha! Telecommuting time-waster….A big “TW” in red ink upon your forehead. Think you’re alone?
Think of it this way: If you were going to an office you wouldn’t call and tell your boss to hold her horses while you cleaned up the kitchen and put the garbage out, would you? You’d be CANNED! Consider working at home a privilege not to be squandered. For 8 hours during the day you need to figure out, and fast, how to control your freedom.
Working Outside the Office = Controlled Freedom
Put your head into your work and within 15 minutes you can be deeply engaged with writing and earning money. However, every time you allow an interruption it takes you again another 15 minutes to actually get back into the mental zone where you are creating quality and functioning on a level akin to a skilled writer.
One: Find out how much time you are actually wasting NOT writing and possibly on a daily basis—let’s call this “blind time.” It’s that time that you’re away from writing in which you are in some half-zombie state. When you sit back down after a “quick” bathroom break or dog walk or muscle stretch or trip to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, do you think only a few minutes have elapsed? What if you’ve lost much more than that, how would you know? Here’s an exercise to try just so you can see how much time can literally disappear during the day and much of it due to bad work organization and time wasting tasks.
- Wear a watch that lets you set a timer or alarm. Determine in advance how much time you’re allotting for the lunchtime dog walk or half hour soap opera. Set your watch and just like the old office lunch break, make sure you’re back at work on time.
- Use a time tracking program. You’ll realize really quickly exactly how much time you actually were gone from your work when you only intended to hit the bathroom or grab another cup of coffee from the pot.
Once you’re TOTALLY SHOCKED at the time you’ve really been wasting try this:
Two: Make sure your workspace comes with a door that closes out family, pets, and other distractions and interruptions. If you’re a chronic time waster any little distraction may be too tempting. Don’t have a home office, you say? No excuses. If you’re lacking basic commitment to getting writing done then it won’t happen even if you have the most stupendous office. You can work in a closet, a garage, a basement, an outdoor workshop, even the attic as long as you can effectively shut a door and protect yourself from distractions.
Three: Jot down a quick daily work schedule and stick to it like glue. Just say no to anything that catches your eye; glue yourself to the seat for 2 hours, take a 5 min break, then glue yourself again, and so on. Some experts suggest you “bookend” tasks: for example if you have two clients’ projects to work on, or you have work for a client and a couple blog posts you’d like to get written for your personal business blog it’s important that you make a time frame for each, as well as time for a scheduled lunch break, coffee break, or time to return phone calls, and get other business details taken care of. If you fly without a plan you fly right into “blind time.” So nip that destructive tendency right in the bud.
When you procrastinate not only do you avoid the work that is most pressing, but you lose much more time than you realize.
Overcoming, Curing, Eliminating, Dealing with…
The world is full of procrastinators and apparently the ranks are swelling, which means the tendency could run deeper in your DNA than you imagined. Hundreds of online users search every month for solutions that will help them “overcome,” “cure,” “eliminate,” and “deal” with procrastination. Procrastination is a human characteristic and according to Piers Steel we’ve been tangled in it for a couple thousand years. Steel, a Professor at the University of Calgary and a specialist in the procrastination process, has developed a mathematical formula for the behavior and believes that a large segment of the most addicted procrastinators engage so ardently and seemingly uncontrollably because they doubt their abilities to complete a task successfully.
Set some time aside to evaluate any reasons you may have, including perceptions and beliefs about your writing or professional skills, requirements of a particular project, or relationships with clients and peers, that could be restraining your writing confidence. Hit them head-on.
Is it really possible to wipe out any tendency toward procrastination? Don’t even waste more energy on that. It’s human. BUT you can manage the temptation to procrastinate and explore what perceptions are the most self-destructive.
- Manage the temptation to procrastinate.
- Explore the perceptions you have that are the most self-destructive to your professional writing career.
Nike’s ad campaign “Just Do It” not only became one of the most memorable of all time, but seemingly serves up a mantra for athletic procrastinators.
Here’s an idea: get up in the morning and forget about the old “thinking cap.” Don your Nikes and Just Do It.